Belize Public Policy

North America

Current policy

Belize is a country located in the region of North America. In November 2015, the ruling Conservative United Democratic Party (UDP) won its third straight election in Belize. Prime Minister Dean Barrow wanted to take advantage of a favorable opinion and the country’s strong economic growth, announcing the election at short notice.

Earlier in 2015, two election elections were held since two opposition members of the National Assembly resigned. In both cases, now the UDP’s candidates won and the government party thereby strengthened its majority in the National Assembly even before the parliamentary elections. In March of that year, municipal elections were also held; here again UDP won big and took 62 of the 69 places to be added.

Prime Minister Barrow maintained for a long time that elections were not relevant yet, the distant date was in June 2017 (see Political system). But at the end of September, a sudden announcement came that elections would be held for just over a month. Some critics claimed that Barrows wanted it overstated before the Venezuela parliamentary elections in December, which were expected to lead to increased opposition there. Belize is heavily dependent on aid and subsidized oil from Venezuela.

The Belize elections on November 4 led the UDP to increase somewhat at the expense of the only opposition party in the National Assembly, the People’s Party (PUP).

The UDP’s continued hold of power meant increased political stability. At the same time, Belize has been drawn ever deeper into neighboring countries’ problems of increasing crime and violence. During Barrow’s reign, it has become increasingly clear that Belize has been infected by the problems of violence suffered by neighboring countries for many years. Already during his first term of office, in September 2011, some of the largest gangs in Belize City entered into an agreement on a ceasefire, after mediating, among other things, government representatives. The agreement was very similar to a similar agreement in El Salvador earlier that year.


In Belize, however, the ceasefire was abandoned in April 2012. Barrow deployed military to fight the violence and carry out road checks. The police were also given permission to carry out body examinations and house searches without judicial review. Despite this, 145 people were murdered in the country that year. After a decrease, the figure was about the same in both 2017 and 2018 (see also Social conditions).

In April 2013, the Supreme Court rejected all contracts with the state to drill oil adjacent to the sensitive barrier reefs. The decision was, among other things, the result of the vote in 2012. But in the spring of 2015, the government presented a new proposal to allow oil drilling on 99 percent of the country’s territorial water. Environmental groups again protested and pointed to the risks of damage in sensitive marine environments.

In spite of this, the UDP thus appeared again in the parliamentary elections in November.


Official name



monarchy, unitary state

Head of State

Queen Elizabeth II (1954–)

Head of government

Prime Minister Dean Barrow (2008–)

Most important parties with mandates in the last election

United Democratic Party (UDP) 19, People’s United Party (PUP) 12 (2015)

Main parties with mandates in the second most recent elections

United Democratic Party (UDP) 17, People’s United Party (PUP) 14 (2012)


73% in the 2015 parliamentary elections

Upcoming elections

parliamentary elections by 2020